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Wednesday, September 1, 1999 Published at 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK

UK: Wales: AMs

Rhodri Morgan


Cardiff West Constituency

Assembly First Secretary
Personal Details
Date of Birth -
September 29, 1939.
Place of Birth - Cardiff.
Married - April 22, 1967, Julie (MP for Cardiff North), daughter of late Jack Edwards and Mrs Grace Edwards (1 son 2 daughters).

Whitchurch Grammar School, Cardiff.
St John's College, Oxford University (BA Hons Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Class II) 1961).
Harvard University.
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (MA Government 1963).

Previous Occupation(s)
Tutor, Organiser Workers' Educational Association 1963-65.
Research Officer: Cardiff City Planning Department 1965-66.
Welsh Office 1967-71.
Economic Adviser, Department of Trade and Industry 1972-74.
Industrial Development Officer, South Glamorgan County Council 1974-80.
Head, European Commission Press and Information Office for Wales 1980-87.

Political Career
MP for Cardiff West since June 1987.
AM for the Constituency of Cardiff West since May 6, 1999.
Assembly Secretary for Economic Development 1999-.

The backbench MP is now Labour's leader in Wales and Assembly First Secretary. He got the top job in Wales at the third attempt. First he lost out to the then Welsh Secretary Ron Davies, and then, following Mr Davies's resignation, he lost to Mr Davies's successor, Alun Michael.

That second contest was a bitter one, with Mr Morgan's supporters claiming that Mr Michael, the Prime Minister's preferred candidate, had been "parachuted" into the post to prevent Mr Morgan from getting it.

Mr Morgan was by far the most popular candidate among grass-roots Labour supporters in Wales, and his narrow defeat in the leadership election in February 1999 was only brought about by trade unions casting their block votes for Mr Michael without balloting their members.

In defeat, Mr Morgan pledged loyalty to Mr Michael and, following his election in May 1999 as Assembly Member for Cardiff West, the seat he has held at Westminster since 1983, he was rewarded with the influential Economic Development brief in Mr Michael's cabinet.

When Mr Michael resigned as First Secretary in February 2000 in advance of an opposition-sponsored vote of no confidence in his leadership, Rhodri Morgan was the immediate choice of the Labour AMs as caretaker First Secretary. A few days later he was confirmed in the post permanently, and was also made leader of the Welsh Labour party.

Mr Morgan, a Welsh speaker, was educated at Harvard and Oxford, and was head of the European Commission office in Wales before being elected to Westminster.

In his own words, he is a "people's tribune type of person", and he has a much more populist style than his predecessor. He claims for himself: "communication skills which span Oxford and Harvard on the one side and any pub in Wales on the other."

It is a view shared by some other party figures in Wales. Labour MP Paul Flynn recently praised him as "a unique political phenomenon; ideas, jokes, solutions Catherine-wheel off him in a shower of iridescent brilliance …possesses rare fully-operational non-lobotomised brain".

His election in place of Alun Michael was seen as a victory of Welsh priorities over London control, and Mr Morgan is perceived as likely to pursue a more independent programme than his predecessor.

Welsh Assembly Election of May 6, 1999
Cardiff West Constituency
Morgan, R. (Lab) 14,305 61.62%
Boult, M. (Con) 3,446 14.84%
Bush, E. (PC) 3,402 14.65%
Garrow-Smith, D. (LD) 2,063 8.89%


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